FRONT MISSION is a turn-based strategy RPG gem that's been around for a long time and it's now back and remade for Nintendo Switch.
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An SRPG classic
My first FRONT MISSION game was FRONT MISSION 3 as it was the first one that released in the west and it absolutely blew my mind back in the day. Having already played and thoroughly enjoyed games like Final Fantasy Tactics and Vandal Hearts, the fact that there was a similar game featuring mechs known as Wanzers was just awesome. Another aspect that's incredible is how it features 2 campaigns that follow separate characters. Thankfully, FRONT MISSION 1st: Remake is a similar experience and it marks the 2nd release of the original in North America with the 1st one being a port for DS. As a long-time fan of the series who also loved FRONT MISSION 4 and even the Evolved spin-off, I must say that I'm very happy that this Switch remake is here and I can't wait for its sequel to release next year. v1d30chumz 35-172-230-154
Although it's been ported to PS1 and DS, FRONT MISSION 1st: Remake marks the first time the original game has 3D visuals which is excellent seeing as it debuted for Super NES back in 1995. I'm happy to say that the Wanzers and battle maps look fantastic complete with oodles of detail, especially considering the fact that Wanzer parts and weapons change their appearance as you swap out gear and you can even colour them as you wish. With all of that in mind, the visuals are essentially all that has changed so this is still an undeniably old-school SRPG experience. Therefore, modern gamers may fail to understand what makes it special while fans will likely love every minute of it. Specifically, there's a sense of randomness that I embrace yet others may find it to be too frustrating.
Tinker with your Wanzer
It's true that landing hits in FRONT MISSION 1st: Remake is very random but that also goes for your opponents so more often than not, it's a fair battle at the end of the day. To turn the odds in your favour, you can swap out Wanzer parts such as body, arms, legs, computer, and backpack items and you'll have to do so regularly if you want to maintain a leg-up over your opponent. Plus, equipping and experimenting with all sorts of weapons is rewarding stuff and I enjoyed having a wide variety of weaponry such as melee clubs, shotguns, missiles, machine guns, and grenades. Some weapons can fire multiple shots per attack and others have higher hit rates so diversifying your arsenal will allow you to see what works best against enemy forces. It's satisfying stuff for sure. 😊
Carry out the mission
Of course, there are loads of missions to complete in FRONT MISSION 1st: Remake no matter which campaign you choose. Most battles involve taking out the enemy Wanzers and each attack will randomly target their legs, arms, and body. Once the body's HP depletes, that Wanzer explodes; if their legs get destroyed, they can't move and smashing an arm will disable the weapons attached to that arm. All of this works wonderfully but as the series progressed, it introduced additional mechanics, enemy types, and scenarios so going back to basics can be a bit limiting, especially because a solid chunk of the battles are quite similar thus occasionally making the campaign somewhat tedious. Overall, I'd say the amount of fun still outweighs any tedium but I imagine that non-fans may be disappointed.
Fumble around a bit
Finally, a couple aspects of FRONT MISSION 1st: Remake certainly haven't held up well. The most irritating element in my opinion is the fact that purchasing new parts and weapons is very cumbersome as figuring out exactly how much of an improvement each piece provides requires you to shuffle around in menus for far longer than needed. Instead, I wish these menus would conveniently display the stat increases and decreases without the need to back out and see what your current stats are. I also wish that you could tap the D-pad in order to select squares in battle because merely moving a cursor around is far less intuitive for old-school folks such as myself. If I want to move 3 tiles left, I should just have to tap left 3 times instead of drag a cursor over as I count.
As a long-time fan of the series, I'm delighted that FRONT MISSION 1st: Remake is available for Switch as it's great fun and looks superb to boot. With that being said, it's definitely not for everyone and I can easily see modern gamers being perplexed by this SRPG classic.
- + Classic FRONT MISSION gameplay in all of its satisfying mech combat glory
- + Lovely 3D visual upgrade
- + Customizing Wanzers is rewarding
- - Upgrading Wanzers is very cumbersome
- - Some missions can be kind of tedious
- - Controls could use some fine-tuning